Councilwoman's proposal for BRPD racism investigation has community support

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 7:42pm

Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle has called for a full blown investigation into allegations of racism in the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Deera Hawthorne has been following the disagreement between the former Chief and Mayor since the beginning. After Monday's hearing she said one thing was clear.

"The racism is there, so it would be nice if we got more details and more in-depth," Hawthorne said.

More details about alleged racism in the department is just what council woman C. Denise Marcelle wants to see.

"Well we wanted to go ahead and do some investigation of some of the things that came out of that hearing," Marcelle explained.

Mayor Kip Holden's office didn’t want to comment on Marcelle's investigation idea without more information about the specifics, but Monday, the mayor told NBC33 that racism has always been an issue at BRPD.

"There has been discrimination in this department. But that's been there long before Kip Holden became mayor. This chief (Dewayne White) has not made any ground breaking changes that's resulted in anything that has made race relations better," Holden said on Monday after the hearing.

People we spoke with disagree though, they said lately things had been getting better, and they would welcome an investigation, just to be sure.

"If you got somebody that's not giving care to everybody that's on the streets, you know they need to be dealt with. Everybody should treat everybody fair,” said one Baton Rouge business owner.

"It's something we deal with everyday. It’s a part of life. But when it comes to our police department we need to really respect those values," Hawthorne added.

BRPD is one of just four departments in the country still under a federal order, referred to as a consent decree, to hire more women and minorities. As of Tuesday 211 of the 687 officers fall into that category, or 30% of officers at the BRPD.

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